DECEMBER is a month when things for most people, generally, go in to something of a leisurely decline as we head towards festive period; productivity eases down, as does the general pace of life, although bank balances may plummet. By contrast however, Scotland’s professional rugby fraternity step up a gear.

In terms of ambition, both at club level and with an eye on international honours, December, even in to the New Year, is a time to make your move, something not lost on a man who is paid to move in a hurry, Glasgow Warriors winger Lee Jones.

Over the next few weeks, the challenge facing Glasgow is arguably their toughest of the campaign this far. And Jones, speaking at the launch of Warriors newest sponsorship deal with Leidos, knows how their season can be shaped over the next few weeks.

“We go from the European fixtures against Lyon, in to the Edinburgh matches over the festive period, and then back in to Champions Cup matches in January. Those are big competitive games, as the European games always are, and the Inter-City matches against our nearest rivals are not too far behind in terms of intensity. Those series of games, arguably, will be our toughest of the season, just because of the level of opposition and what is at stake, important for the club and individually.

“Throwing in the Pro14 Edinburgh ties for good measure, when the boys just want to knock lumps out of each other, makes it a really big couple of months and certainly a great chance to put down a marker if you are looking to be involved in the Six Nations.”

Jones returned for Scotland duty in the Doddie Weir Cup game against Wales in Cardiff at the start of last month, but has had a slight fitness worry since. However, he has ambitions on adding to his 10 caps, hopefully in those Six nations games.

“Things could always be better, but I’m relatively happy with how things have gone this season. I picked up a wee niggle in the Welsh game, and that was disappointing, and the last couple of weeks have been a wee bit frustrating in terms of the injury. But for the season, as a whole, I’m pretty pleased with how things have developed for me and the team.

“Getting back in the Scotland team was a bonus and it was good to get a run out in Cardiff. We were a bit unfortunate with the nature of the way the game went, but, I was happy with my performance in the game.”

And there would be no better opportunity for Jones to catch the eye of national coach Gregor Townsend than over the coming fixtures, beginning with a trip to Stade de Gerland to face Lyon. The 30-year-old is well aware of the challenges posed by the Top 14 outfit.

“There are literally no small French teams. In terms of physicality, and having big players, you don’t see anything like that in the Pro14. Saracens were a big outfit, but it’s something the French pride themselves in and set their entire game around.

“Facing Montpellier last year, even looking at their back line, they were just big men. But playing against them, I felt that they run pretty direct and straight, almost asking to be stopped. They don’t deviate too much. If you can do that, then you are almost halfway there against them. You know what you are getting with the French teams.

“Lyon will be a challenge, off the back of losing their first two games, to Saracens and Cardiff. They’ll be targeting a couple of results against us. So, we know what’s coming and need to be at our best,” said Jones, who admits facing Lyon in successive week raises its own issues.

“It’s always a wee bit different. Our coaching team brief us on what to expect, and we do our analysis before the game. But then you get to see them and learn a bit more about them and you cram a lot in to that second week.

“However, you can end up wondering ‘do you run that play?’ even if it’s an obvious play to run, or have you over-analysed things? Is it a bluff, or a counter-bluff? It makes for an interesting dynamic.”

Reflecting on what might have been, last time out in European action, against Saracens, Jones went on: “There were periods in that game, especially before half time when we were in their 22 for a long period, with several penalties. Arguably, we should have taken one of those opportunities and we should have scored. But equally you saw how good they were defensively. Credit to them for that.

“I think the Saracens game was one that could have gone either way. We showed we could be competitive, but we just didn’t quite get there on the day – which makes the return fixture one to look forward too. But let’s deal with Lyon first.”

Global science, engineering and technology provider, Leidos, with its UK headquarters in Glasgow, has become an official sponsor of Glasgow Warriors in a deal until May 2020. Leidos delivers innovative technology and solutions focused on safeguarding and transforming services in government, defence, energy, logistics and transportation markets.